Indian telecoms companies seem -so far at least - to be riding out the recession rather nicely with just four out of the 19 organisations listed on the country's stock exchange posting a decrease in revenues in this quarter.
New data published Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) also shows that levies paid by the telcos to the government are significantly higher, having risen from from US$513 million in Q3 to $854.5 million this.
Moreover, as operators continues to grow their subscriber numbers and launch in new circles, licence fees paid rose from $358 million to $489 million, while spectrum charges soared from $155.4 million to $854.5 million.
Indian subscribers to telecoms services were up by 9.79 million in September alone, bringing the total to 353.66 million of which 315.31 million are mobile customers. Teledensity in the sub-continent now stands at 30.64 per cent.
Amongst the operators, Bharti still leads the pack with gross revenue of $2.1 billion compared to the $2 billion reported in the previous quarter. Next is BSNL with $1.8 billion (up from from$1.7 billion in Q3).
Meanwhile, Reliance Communications and Reliance Telecom posted gross revenues of $953 million against the $875 million of Q3.
Vodafone went from $1.05 billion to $1.1 billion; Idea took in $517.8 million rising from $488.3 million; Aircel had $163 million up from $158 million; Tata Teleservices reported $618.5 million up from $613.1 million and BPL Mobile's revenues were $35.4 million slightly up from the $34.5 million posted in Q3.
The four telcos reporting lower figures are Mahanagar Telephone Nigam Ltd, where revenues slid to $306.5 million, down from the $323 million achieved in the previous quarter; Shyam Teleservices, Spice Tele, HCL Infinet and Comnet. Elsewhere, national and international long distance operators such as Tulip, Sify, AT&T and BT all report higher gross revenues during for the quarter.
Commenting on the prevailingly poor global economic conditions, BSNL's chairman, Kuldeep Goyal, said his company would not allow the liquidity crisis hamper its efforts to expand beyond Indian shores.
The state operator recently shelved a $10 billion IPO because of worldwide market turmoil but insists it will still move forward with its plans to acquire fresh licenses in Africa and the Middle East.
"We are looking for growth in international markets and we will bid for licences in low tele-density markets", he said.
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